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BaptismWithoutMarriage Betsy wrote:

Hi, guys —

My husband and I haven't got married in the Church and we have had a child together. We both belong to the same Christian community and want to have him baptized.

I have spoken to my parish priest and he has told us that, for our child to get baptized, we need to get married in the Church but we don't want to.

  • Can we have our child baptized without getting married in the Catholic Church?

Please help me out.


  { Can we have our child baptized without getting married in the Catholic Church? }

Bob replied:


It is commendable that you want to have your child baptized but that is only part of the obligation.

The Church baptizes infants because the parents or guardians promise to:

  • raise them as Catholic Christians, and
  • teach them the faith as they grow.

The parents have a responsibility to educate and practice the faith with, and for, their children. If you don't live as Catholics then you can't impart what you believe into your children.

  • Is there some obstacle to getting married in the Church?
  • Why don't you work that out?
  • Do you worship as part of a different Christian community?

— That part was unclear.

You could probably have your child baptized in a non-Catholic Christian church, if that is where you practice, [and they administer a valid Trinitarian baptism] but I would encourage you to consider giving yourselves and your children the fullness of the Catholic faith, because that is the Church that Jesus founded. (Matthew 16:13-19)

I have friends that moved here from Brazil, became serious about their faith, and then decided to seek an annulment from a first marriage back in Brazil. They then lived as brother and sister (still a family, but practicing chastity) until they worked it out. Today God is blessing their family in ways they never could have imagined.

Being Christian is a life-challenging undertaking and if it doesn't test you in hard ways, it really wouldn't be that serious or worth it. Jesus' sufferings and death were paid for a reason, and our response to that gift needs to be to do hard things — the right things, and then the blessings follow.

I suggest you talk more with the priest and find out more about what the possibilities are for your situation and how you can get married in the Church.


Bob Kirby

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